Thursday, September 18, 2003

Ohio Moments

Judge Cutler backed schools, fought slavery

On Sept. 18, 1795, Ephraim Cutler - who would become common pleas judge of the Northwest Territory and a member of the Ohio Constitutional Convention - arrived with his family in Marietta. They had departed Killingly, Conn., on June 15. Two of their children died on the arduous trip via wagon and flatboat.

In 1797 Cutler helped organize Ames Township (now Amesville). In 1806 he moved to Constitution, Ohio, where his house was later a center of activity on the Underground Railroad. Cutler was an ardent abolitionist. As a member of the Constitutional Convention, he drafted Section 2 of the state bill of rights - which excluded slavery in Ohio. He served in the General Assembly, where he fought for state funding of canals and proposed a state school system.

Cutler was a co-founder of Ohio University. In 1804 he traveled east to trade animal pelts for the money to buy 51 books. He operated the Coonskin Library out of his house. Cutler died in 1853, age 85.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail or call (513) 768-8361.

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